Let’s rewind to September of 2014. I was sitting at home with my four-month old baby, and my Instagram feed was flooded with pictures from the Influence Conference. And I so so SO wanted to be there! So much so, that I bought my ticket as early as I could for the coming years’ conference…and the countdown began. I am by definition an introvert, and so I wanted to find a friend who would be willing and able and excited to join me at the three-day conference this year. Luckily, I have a sweet, brave friend (Angela!) who was willing to go on a trip with me!
As the months turned to weeks and then to days, my excitement grew and grew. Not only was I going to have a chance to not be a “mom” for a few days, but I was going to have the opportunity to meet some of the bloggers and business owners I have always admired from a distance. I was going to be able to hear so many good speakers and participate in wonderful worship. This conference definitely did not disappoint!
I could quite literally write a novel about everything I learned over the course of last weekend. I was filled up with so much knowledge and wisdom and encouragement just from listening to the speakers. I was able to relax and re-charge as I spent time with like-minded women all striving to follow God’s calling on their lives. I was able to eat dinner without feeding my kids first (can I get an Amen!?), and just sit and have some great conversations.
There are two things, in particular, that I learned last weekend, that I want to share with you:
- I have influence right where I am. I don’t need to be the most followed blogger or the most successful business woman for God to use me right where I am. Maybe it’s my influence at home that is most important right now! I don’t need a huge audience. God has put me where I am for a purpose — a purpose that only I can fulfill. And I am going to stop comparing myself to everyone else! (Or should I say I am going to “try”?! Our world and social media make comparison so extremely easy!)
- My kids are not a distraction. They are my “tribe”, my little “disciples”. I need to bring them alongside with me, as I live my life. As Lisa-Jo Baker said, “When you follow Jesus, your kids will grow up and know what that looks like. If you don’t teach them Who to follow, they will quickly follow someone, or something else.” I am a really goal-oriented person, and I often struggle being a stay-at-home mom, because I feel like my goals are sometimes put on hold. But what an important job I have right now — I am not putting my life on hold. I am bringing my kids along with me, so they know firsthand what it means to follow Christ. That is a job description that I can not take lightly!
Jess Connolly gave an amazing talk about how to demolish pretenses and strongholds in your life: “Our defeated pretenses become our ministry.” Hayley Morgan spoke about having an undivided heart: “God can sustain you. We need to clear things out so we can hear better!” Erin Loechner talked about how to “lean back” and recognize when you are struggling and how to deal with that: “We’ve been so busy painting portraits of perfection, whether online or off, that we don’t want to smudge our masterpiece of self-reliance.” Rachael Kincaid spoke about grace: “He is the key to an unlocked life. Grace and forgiveness are not unattainable things. Grace compels us to make a difference!”
I am still processing and reflecting on all that I saw and heard — it was a lot, but it was all so, so good. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go the Conference, and I am thankful for all that I learned. (And, I have a HUGE list of books on my reading list!)
I have been a member of the Influence Network for about a year, and the value of the classes alone is definitely worth the membership! So, if you have been pondering joining, ponder no more — just do it. I promise you will not regret spending the $10 a month! On top of the benefit of one free class a month, you also have access to the Network forums, the opportunity to join a community group, and monthly member downloads, podcasts, etc. It is a really such a great community of women! You do not need to be a blogger, or business owner, or author. You just need to be you and know that you have influence right where you are!
Ali Wren & Angela & Me
Jess Connolly & Me
Hayley Morgan & Me
Before I end, I just have to say thank you again for your continued prayers for Bryan. He has his 8th chemo treatment this coming week, so he will have four left after this one is finished. This has been a long, and tiring road for Bryan and while we are thankful that the cancer is gone, I know Bryan could continue to use your prayers as he finishes up treatments. They are exhausting, both mentally and physically. He could use continued prayer for strength, energy and that he stays healthy, in general as we approach cold and flu season. I am thankful that I don’t have a lot of updates to share and that the end is almost in sight — God is good!